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Young Cuban Ballet Stars in historic first-time visit to South Africa
The performers range in age from 15 to 18 years, and are recognised as being among the most exceptional junior dancers in the world. Their tour will fall under the auspices of the Cape Town International Ballet Competition (CTIBC) that held its inaugural event in January 2008, attracting global attention and competing dancers from China, the US, South Korea and South America.

The Cuban dancers' visit is a crucial cross-cultural event. The National Ballet School of Cuba is well supported by its government.

The school is the largest in the world and when it was expanded in 2002, 4 500 students were selected to join the study programmes out of more than 52 000 applicants.

The Cuban dance teachers will conduct workshops at Dance for All, the Capa studios in Tokai and at the UCT School of Dance. Teachers and pupils will be able to attend and will also be able to watch the guests go through their paces.

Aside from the Cuban ballet teachers sharing their expertise and teaching methods, the workshops will also be a platform for the CEO of the CTIBC, Dirk Badenhorst, to present the new criteria for the Cape Town International Ballet Competition in July 2010.

The Cubans' visit comes at a time when ballet and dance appear to be finding new life in the city.

In addition to the 75-year-old Cape Town City Ballet and Jazzart Dance Theatre, smaller companies are staking their claim on the professional dance scene.

A wealth of choreographers, established and emerging, are now able to find a platform for their work in two of Cape Town's newest additions to the professional dance scene, such as Bovim Ballet, under the leadership of Sean Bovim and InSPIRAtions, directed by Dance for All's Philip Boyd in association with Adele Blank.

While dance companies are making their mark and finding ways to constantly re-invent themselves, there is also activity in dance schools.

It is now increasingly viewed as a career option for talented dancers who are still at academic school.

Dancers from age three to 17 are donning tights from Athlone to the Atlantic Seaboard and from Green Point to Gugulethu.


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